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RESCUER IN WESTERN CANADA

Secouriste sur un chantier de forage pour le pétrole

British Columbia and Alberta are experiencing an incredible economic boom. The forest, oil-producing and mining industries, to name a few, are in full growth. Usually far from the hospital centers, the kind of work done in these industries represents considerable risks for the workers. To respond to the security norms of the government agency “Workers compensation board of British Columbia”, the presence of a first-aid worker is imperative to respond effectively to emergencies. Many first-aid jobs must be filled among 150 available.

Oil prospect sites

 

Training
You don’t become a first aid worker like that. The training « Occupational First Aid Level 3 » is intense and condensed but so interesting. It lasts 70 hours during 2 weeks. It helps you to react in different situations like how to bandage a cut or transporting a patient in heart break to a helicopter. After the course, follows a theory and practical exam. Besides the 7 hours of courses everyday, you also have to count a minimum of 3 hours of study each night. The certificate gives you the right to work only in British Columbia.

Formation de secouriste en Colombie-Britannique
Patrick plays the Guinea pig


It is possible to get the equivalent in Alberta by getting a certificate named “Alberta Endorsement”. It’s a one day course where you will learn how to use an automatic defibrillator and to take the pulse of a patient with a stethoscope. We think this course is another way to draw off money from our pockets. Fortunately, a change is soon being announced. The two provinces are thinking of demanding one certificate to work in both provinces. This information is valid only if you wish to work in Alberta or in both provinces. You also must know that many industries operate in the two provinces and that this certificate represents an asset for the employers.

Les certificats de secouriste dans l'Ouest canadien

There are many dangerous products in most of the working environments. Therefore, you must obtain the WHMIS certificate (Workplace Hazardous Material Information System). You will find here a list of firms who offers the training in their offices or on the internet. It’s a one hour course.

The required certificates

If your intention is to work in the oil companies, you will have to assist to the H2S course (hydrogen sulfur). In about a day, you will discover the dangers of this deadly gas and will also learn how to manage a crisis situation.
 

Costs
For every course, there is a price attached. Plan about 600$ to 900$ for the OFA Level 3, 100$ for the Alberta Endorsement, 50$ for the SIMDUT and 120$ for the H2S. The majority of the certificates are valid for 2 years. You mustn’t forget to add the costs of transportation and housing during the training period. Once you get your job, you must get the protection gear: construction hat, clothing, steeled toe boots and security glasses, for about 200$. All of this costs a lot, but the salary compensates.

 
Salary
Since job opportunities in Alberta and British Columbia are excellent, the employers offer good salaries giving them the opportunity to keep there employees. A first aid assistant, without any experience, receives easily between 175$ and 225$ a day. Also, if you must cook your own meal, you get a compensation of 30$ to 55$ each day without paying taxes. Besides, your housing is free.
 
Who can become a first aid worker?
A relaxed attitude in a stressing situation and a pleasant and calm personality are important things. It’s not necessary to be perfectly bilingual. But you must know English very well, because in case of an emergency, you will have to communicate with your patient and the rest of the first aid team. The minimum age to work in the first aid section without supervision is 19 years old.

Cours de secouriste en Colombie-Britannique
Caroline practices

Also, some medical criteria like alcohol or drugs abuse, your hearing capacities or contagious sicknesses must be evaluated by your doctor. Don’t worry; being able to run a marathon is not an eligibility condition.
 

Ambulance et camp du secouriste sur un chantier de pétrole
Ambulance and first aid camp on the oil sites

Work conditions
Get ready to work long hours, between 12 and 14 hours a day. In certain cases, you must wait in your emergency vehicle. Other times, you must patiently wait in your house which resembles an old mobile home. However, you will have satellite television and sometimes an internet connexion. Sometimes you will have to stay at a hotel but the company pays. The job doesn’t require a big amount of daily tasks.
For days to pass by quickly, you must keep yourself occupied. What’s better than working and having free time! Those who like computers, reading, writing, painting or music will certainly like this job. Weeks can go by without an incident and when something happens it is usually a little incident. Then, you can go back to your favorite hobby. Since they are low on staff, you can work several weeks without taking a day off. With a boss that takes care of you, you only have to agree on your work schedule and your days off.
 
Armed with patience and a good sense of organization, you’ll quickly find the place that you deserve. This type of work is for those who like to care for others. The conditions are there to make money and save enough to realize some projects like buying a house, a car or simply leaving for a trip.
 
Internet links
Look for a job with the help of this list, which provides information on first aid work. To find out more about the job, visit the WorkSafeBC web site.
 
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